Airfares for flights from Srinagar this weekend have shot up to abnormally high levels after the Jammu and Kashmir state government issued an advisory urging pilgrims to curtail their Amarnath Yatra and return as soon as possible.
For a one-way direct flight from Srinagar to Delhi, even low-cost airlines such as IndiGo, SpiceJet, GoAir and AirAsia are charging between Rs 10,000 to Rs 22,000, according to travel portals.
The normal rates generally hover around Rs 3,000.
Similarly, from Srinagar to Jammu, the current flight rates are around Rs 16,000.
Other places like Amritsar, Chandigarh, Jaipur also witnessed a jump in airfares ranging between Rs 10,000 to Rs 19,000.
Web portals of several airlines with flights from Srinagar on Saturday and Sunday showed that all virtually all seats have been sold with just a few remaining.
“Everyone is tense and in a panic mode. We had to pay Rs 12,000 per person for flying to Delhi from Srinagar,” said a passenger Riya Khandelwal.
Khandelwal had to cut short her Amarnath Yatra following an advisory issued by the state government.
Aniket, another passenger, said: “We completed the Amarnath Yatra. The moment we touched down at Pahalgam at around 4:30 to 5 pm, we were told by officials from Amarnath Shrine Board and the CRPF to leave Kashmir as early as possible.”
“We then tried to book a cab. There is a rule there that they do not allow cabs to leave to Srinagar after 2 pm due to security reasons. There was a lot of confusion. There was no one to guide us. Fortunately, we got a cab for Srinagar and we reached there after three to four hours,” he said.